Highlights and main attractions of the Cayo District

A land of beautiful forests and exquisite cave systems, this is an exciting destination for natural world enthusiasts, as well as those who are interested in the historical and cultural side of Belize. 

Situated in western Belize, near the border with Guatemala, the Cayo District explores a range of habitats and landscapes, encompassing the pre-Columbian Maya ruins of Xunantunich, the national capital of Belmopan and the tourist town of San Ignacio, as well as the famous caves of Barton Creek. This is the largest district of Belize spanning over 2,000 square miles across diverse terrain, from lush river valleys and rugged mountains to rolling hills and sweeping farmland devoted to citrus orchards. Broadleaf jungle overlays limestone formations which, over time, have dissolved forming winding underwater rivers (thrilling for river tubing), sinkholes and spectacular caves.

Swim under tumbling waterfalls, explore the vast Caracol - Belize’s largest archaeological site, and search for the resident wildlife in the jungle areas.

Where is the Cayo District?

Culture, wildlife and the National Park

Over 60% of the Cayo District has been designated as wildlife sanctuary, national park or forest reserve and eco tourism is a very important industry. Explore the physically diverse flora and fauna and delve into the cool waters beneath cascading waterfalls. Ply calm waters via canoe or roam the lands on horseback.You don’t have to be a dedicated birder to enjoy the birdlife here and with over 500 species listed in Belize, you may spot Keel-billed toucan (the national bird), as well as the emerald toucanet, vermillion flycatcher and blue-grey tanager.

The extensive Caracol is definitely worthy of a visit, sprawling approximately 10 kilometres in radius in AD 650. The most imposing of the sights here is the massive pyramid that soars over 50 metres into the air through the canopy of the dense jungle.

Activities here include hiking, horseback riding, moonlight jaguar quests and guided mountain biking, as well as swimming and birding. There are also caving and river-tubing available for the adventurous.

The Cayo District has some fantastic accommodation, in keeping with its focus on eco-tourism. Chaa Creek Lodge, on the banks of the Macal River, has a variety of options from ‘back to nature’ style to luxurious treetop suites. Blancaneaux Lodge was originally used as a family retreat by Francis Ford Coppola is a luxurious jungle lodge in the northwest corner of the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest.

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